A response to Evan Turner’s disdain of bicyclists

Evan Turner is confused about bike laws. Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics signed Evan Turner this summer in what many considered to be a low risk, high reward type of move. If Turner doesn’t deliver, he can count on Celtics fans letting him know that he is in Boston where they are used to their teams winning. This may not be done in a polite manner, as the stereotypical Masshole fan will make sure their opinion on Turner will be loudly voiced on talk radio and from their seats in the Garden. But believe it or not, most Bostonians don’t fit the Masshole labeling as not everyone in the city appeared in The Departed and The Town.

According to Fast Company, in 2013 Boston was tied for second with San Francisco as one of the top 10 smartest cities in North America. Boston was also ranked fourth in 2013 for venture capitalist investments in tech startups, according to National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), which points to the city’s strong and burgeoning innovation scene. As a state, in 2013 Massachusetts was considered to be the sixth best place to bike in the entire country according to The League of American Bicyclists. This last ranking should be of importance to Turner as he needs to learn that in Boston, biking is a major part of the city and he shouldn’t be complaining about bikers that follow the rules:

People swear their bikes are cars

A photo posted by evan turner (@slumdog_mi11ionaire) on

Actually Evan, that bicyclist is allowed to be there, Massachusetts state law confirms this:

Where to Ride

In Massachusetts, bicycles are subject to the traffic laws and regulations of the commonwealth. There is no law that requires bicycles to ride as far to the right as practicable.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch. 85, §11B

Now Turner is technically right, bikes are not cars but there is yet another state law that shows that the bicyclist behind him was following the rules:

Treatment as a Vehicle

In Massachusetts bicycles are not vehicles according to the statute that defines vehicles, but a person riding a bicycle upon a way has the right to use all public ways except where prohibited by sign, and shall be subject to the traffic laws and regulations of the commonwealth and the special regulations contained section 11B of Chapter 85 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch. 90 §1; Ch. Mass. Gen. Laws. 85 §11B

Here are some other biking laws that Turner should familiarize himself with if he is going to continue to drive in Boston:

Safe Passing Laws

Massachusetts requires that in approaching or passing a person on a bicycle the operator of a motor vehicle shall slow down and pass at a safe distance and at a reasonable and proper speed.

If it is not possible to overtake a bicycle or other vehicle at a safe distance in the same lane, the overtaking vehicle shall use all or part of an adjacent lane if it is safe to do so or wait for a safe opportunity to overtake.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.90, §14; Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.89, §2

Dooring law

Massachusetts requires that no person open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch. 90, §14

Now Turner may have been at a stop but if not, he was technically the one that was breaking the law. Not the bicyclist:

Distracted Driving Laws

Massachusetts currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

No operator of a motor vehicle shall use a mobile telephone, or any handheld device capable of accessing the internet, to manually compose, send or read an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle;
No person under 18 years of age shall use a mobile telephone, hands-free mobile telephone or mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on any public way; and
No operator of a vehicle used in public transportation shall use a mobile telephone, hands-free mobile telephone or other mobile electronic device while operating such vehicle.
Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.90, §13B; Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.90, §8M; Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.90, §12A

Turner is new to the city so he may not be familiar with how ubiquitous bicycles are in Boston. With Hubway, a large public bike share program that has 140 stations and 1,300 bikes, a thriving union of bicyclists called the Boston Cyclists Union, and state and city advocacy groups like MassBike and Liveable Streets Alliance, Boston is becoming a bicyclists dream. Boston even has a whole city department devoted to bicycling initiatives called Boston Bikes. The department created by former Mayor Thomas Menino, has done wonders for bicycling in the city. Due to the tireless work of the advocacy groups and the city itself, biking in Boston is at times faster and easier than driving.

The good news is that Turner can only learn from his lack of knowledge. Although the exact terms of his contract have still yet to be announced, all reports indicate that he will be in Boston until 2016. That gives Turner two years to jump on a bike and bike through the streets of Boston. If he needs help I would be glad to show him how to bike in these streets, as I bike everyday in Boston and prefer it over driving. If not me, I am sure one of the thousands of Boston bicyclists will also happily lend him a helping hand. Plus by biking, Turner won’t ever have to worry about running out of gas:


Ananth Pandian

Ananth Pandian is "A Free Born Man of the USA". Follow him on Twitter: @Ananth_Pandian

  • yogi

    No one claimed the cyclist was breaking the law. What a pointless, waste of time, straw man, nonsense article.

    • elcocotero

      I don’t think the article was that serious…

      • yogi

        Levity is not an excuse for poor quality.

        • elcocotero

          I don’t know, but I think it was somewhat the point, to make a big, serious point about a casual, funny comment. It’s not the greatest article in HP, and you could also disagree with the writers’ take, but still I don’t think it deserved the bashing.

  • Screwbikes

    Evan Turner was right and those laws need changed. Their are minimal speed limits on some roads and they many more should have them

  • Raymond Tong

    So, there’re no laws requiring the use of helmets in U.S.? Cause you know, even Canada (where I’m from) requires them: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pubs/cycling-guide/section5.0.shtml

  • willardweston

    Stupid article and even stupider headline. He tweeted that bikers think their bikes are cars and from that you get he has a disdain for bikers before piling on useless crap about Boston that has nothing to do with Evan Turner. Plus, he’s definitely getting traded this year after proving himself… thats why its low risk high reward. He won’t be here in 2016…. usual fan sided crappy article